New Audi Q3 vs New Volvo XC40

The XC40 is our favourite family SUV and a former What Car? car of the Year, but is Audi's all-new Q3 even better?...

Audi Q3 back seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

The Q3’s front seats don’t slide back as far as the XC40’s, so there’s less leg room on offer, while our Volvo XC40 came fitted with an optional panoramic glass roof (£1000) that left it with a lot less head room than the Audi Q3. But even so, our loftiest tester of 6ft 4in had space to spare in both cars.

Oddment storage is impressive, too, with each car having lots of cubbies, including a useful tray in front of the gear selector that’s large enough for a wallet, keys and your favourite chocolate bar. 

Volvo XC40 back seats

On paper, the Q3’s second-row seats look the more promising, because you can slide them backwards and forwards to vary leg room or boot space as required, and the backrest can be reclined, whereas the XC40 has none of these tricks. However, what the XC40 does give you is leg room, and plenty of it. So, while you’ll still get your tall chums in the back of the Q3 when its rear seats are pushed right back, they’ll feel more hemmed in than they will in the XC40. Plus, the XC40 is a bit wider than the Q3 – handy if you need to fit three adults across the rear bench.

Similarly, the Q3’s boot is bigger, but we were able to squeeze seven carry-on suitcases into both with the rear seats up, and it’s actually the XC40’s that’s more practical, because it has no load lip, a flatter extended load floor when the seats are folded and a hatch in the middle seat through which  you can slot long items. It’s just a shame that its rear seats split 60/40, rather than 40/20/40.

As a bonus, you can specify the XC40 with a Convenience Pack (£350) that adds power-folding rear seats and a fold-out luggage divider with integral hooks to keep shopping bags upright.

Audi Q3

Audi Q3 boot

The Audi Q3 has rear seats that are easy to slide back and forth or recline, thanks to easily accessible levers. A variable-height boot floor also comes in handy, and there are deep pockets to stop your de-icer and scraper from rattling around.

Boot 530-1525 litres  Suitcases 7

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 boot

Additional width and greater rear leg room make the Volvo XC40 better for rear seat passengers. The rear bench is less flexible, but there is a ski flap for long, thin items. The boot floor is higher than the Q3’s, but there’s no lip to contend with.

Boot 440-1336 litres  Suitcases 7

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